As go the border states, so goes the war. Everybody clearly understood the status of the border states Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland would go a long way in deciding the Civil War.

In the second half of 1861, Confederate forces established a defensive line across the state of Kentucky from Columbus on the Mississippi River to the Appalachians. Entering the state before Federal forces to establish this line broke Kentucky’s declared neutrality, no small factor in the sitting government’s decision to remain in the Union. The first major Union breakthrough of this defensive line occurred on January 19, 1862, at what is most commonly known as the Battle of Mill Springs. Although the battle received extensive coverage at the time, it would soon be eclipsed by Grant’s victories over Fort Henry and Fort Donelson farther west. In aggregate, these three victories secured Union control of Kentucky.

Authorized in March 2019, the battlefield and related sites will become a unit of our National Park System called Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument.

See a pictorial tour of this newly authorized, future NPS unit on The Centennial Facebook page: